guilt free creamy lemon bars

Love biting into a big piece of fresh lemon cheesecake ? – only to be overwhelmed by guilt only 30 seconds later ?  Well we’ve got the perfect solution for you here at the conscious taste.  All of the taste (and then some) – and none of the guilt.

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Follow these quick and easy steps and you’ll be enjoying these mouth wateringly delicious lemon bars with  your favourite cup of tea in no time

First step.  Get your ingredients together for the crust & filling :

Crust :

1 cup (90 g) oats

1 cup (112 g) almonds

1/4 cup sea salt

2 tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup

4-5 tbsp (60-75 g) pumpkin puree,

(please note we substituted pumpkin puree for oil as oil of any kind is the most calorie dense food on the planet, and has other health concerns also (another post for another day)  So while we are not completely oil free –  we try to avoid using oil wherever possible, and the substitute worked BETTER than oil in this recipe )

Filling :

1 cup (120 g) raw cashews

1 cup (240 g)  coconut cream * (the hardened portion a the top of the full fat coconut milk, I prefer trader joes thick coconut cream)

2 tbsp (14 g) arrowroot or cornstarch

1/2 cup (120 ml) lemon juice (2 large lemons)

1 heaping tbsp (4 g) lemon zest (1 large lemon)

1 pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste

optional : 2 tbsp powdered sugar, for topping

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First place your cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water, letting them sit for one hour.  Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees (176 C) and line your 8×8 pan with parchment paper. I found that if you really try and make the parchment paper go as close to the edge of the pan as possible you will get more pretty looking squares in the end.

Next take all of your dry ingredients and place in your blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix and it’s a dream – but that’s a post for another day).  Mix these all together on the highest speed setting until it becomes a finely ground meal.

2Next, combine your dry meal and your wet crust ingredients,  mixing together to make a thick paste.  Remember to only add your dry ingredients into the blender. I goofed the first time I made these by adding the dry & wet ingredients together resulting a bit of a mess!.  Thank goodness I was using a Vitamix because it still mixed everything together in the end, it just took some guns moving that tamper around.

Once you’ve mixed everything together and you have the right consistancy place it in your pan and push down flat with some parchment paper.  The parchment paper will keep your hand from getting covered in the mix.

Now, place your crust in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn up your heat to 375 degrees and bake for 5-8 more mins or until the edges are slightly browned to perfection.

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The filling.  Its time for the good stuff and OMG is it ever lickable, or even drinkable for that matter.  Take your cashews, drain them and place them in your blender.  Next take the rest of your filling ingredients with the exception of the powdered sugar, and also place them in your blender.  We will add the powdered sugar at the end to make them look pretty.   Mix your ingredients on high, until creamy & smooth.  Taste it, it will blow your mind.  Remember just to taste it and not start eating by the spoonful or you won’t have enough for the recipe.  Just sayin’…

Once you’ve tried it and perfected the taste adding a bit more maple syrup or lemon zest, pour it over your crust and then bake for 20-23 mins.  You will know when it’s ready because it will be firm, but still moves a little in the middle.

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Once that’s all done let your baby rest for about 10 mins and then put in your fridge, uncovered for 3-4 hours.  I couldn’t wait the first time and dug in at 3 hours because it was killing me, I had to try.  Be prepared – they will blow your mind.  They taste like the best version of any lemon cheesecake you have ever tried.  I ate the entire pan to myself and have done that many times. It’s the little (or big) things in life that keep us happy.  Enjoy.

Namaste – my muse & I.

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We’d love to say that we invented these, but that wouldn’t be conscious or in good taste.  So- giving credit where credit is due: We discovered this recipe at http://www.theminimalistbaker.com.

Photos by Iulia Agnew of Vancouver, BC.

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